i am from.

i have posted these words here before.

but today, you get to hear them.

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dirt.

I’ve never seen the ocean.

Not the real ocean anyway. I went to the Texas gulf coast when I was very young, but don’t remember much of it. And really, it’s the Texas gulf cost, so it’s one of those things you’d rather not remember.

Lately, I have been having dreams of the ocean – of finding a piece of sand and sitting there until I can’t sit and stare at the horizon any longer.

~ ~ ~

This week, one of my dearest friends trekked down to the gulf coast and she has to continually remind me that Galveston does not count as the ocean. I beg her for photo after photo of the salty earth and the never approaching horizon.

“I’ll try to find some that doesn’t look like dirty,” she tells me.

She tried. Sent me a few photos.

“This is not what your dream looked like.”
“It didn’t look like this, either.”

She was right. The water was brown. The ground dirty. Even the columns anchored on the beach bearing up the walkways seemed stained with mucky earth.

Then I saw it. Sure it had been rung through filter after filter. Blues painted along the left. Hues of yellow and green splashed toward the right. And a ferris wheel. Nestled on the pier stretching out over the water. It was beautiful.

“I had to filter the heck out of it just to make the water not dirt.”

Dirt.

My mind jumped. A visceral reaction to the word.

Dirt – Made the blind man see.

Dirt – Witnessed the release of the woman caught in adultery. 

Dirt – Washed from filthy feet by the hands of God himself. 

That is the thing about dirt, I suppose.
Maybe it doesn’t make all things beautiful. Like oceans.
But it can be beautiful.

Maybe it is often ignored that dirt and oceans, though entered into completely different beauty pageants, have something in common after all.

The power to heal. 

The power to set free. 

The power to lift your face and sing the simple refrain over you –
“You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.”

 ~ ~ ~

I will see the ocean this year. I will find a nice square of sand and I will sit. I will sit and stare at the never approaching horizon until the last hint of sunlight has drained from the sky. I will plunge my hands into the sand surrounding me. Running it’s sticky grains through my fingers, I will bring up handful after handful of earth just as a reminder of the power carried in these very tiny rocks.

And I will not be afraid. 

I will not be afraid of the dirt or the texture. I will not let my anxiety or OCD steal the wonder from my eyes. I will not be afraid of the time spent sitting and I will not be afraid of the dirt staining my pants. I will not be afraid of the mess.

Instead, I will marvel. I will sit there, in the middle of the mess, and I will heal. I will be set free. And I will rest under the refrain – “You are loved. You are loved. You are loved.”

For those few moments, all will be okay.

And the dirt will make it beautiful.

"I had to filter the heck out of it just to make the water not be dirt" @ronnerock

“I had to filter the heck out of it just to make the water not be dirt” @ronnerock

six months.

Dear You,

Today is the day. Well, I guess there won’t ever be THE day. But this is definitely one for the books. Today is day one-hundred-eighty-two. Today is twenty-six weeks. Today is six months.

Some people might say that I am celebrating. But the truth of it is that we are celebrating.

Choosing life always sounds so simple. And sometimes it is. But then there are times where the right step is the blurry step and the right choice is the hardest one. I remember talking to you in those days before. “If I don’t walk away from this – it will kill me” I told you, knowing full well that playing with fire sends you home burned. “Take one step. Just one step. I’ll be here for the first one and for each one after it.”

I had been self harming almost consistently since I was 11 years old – more than half my life. The motivation for walking away was not “I want to be obedient to what God has called me to” or “I don’t want to keep running to things that will never satisfy” or “I want to be faithful even though I am so so tired and I don’t think I can do this.”

My motivation was simply this – I don’t want to die right now.

Sometimes, I guess, that is enough.
So, I packaged up the far-too-many razor blades I possessed and painted a picture.

“I will have JOY in the Lord. I will be glad in the God who SAVES me. the Lord is my strength.”

The envelope, filled with cisterns that can hold no water, was taped to the back of that painting.
It was shipped off for safe keeping.
And then I cried.

On day eight I texted saying there was no way I would make it to day nine.

On day twenty-three I pocketed a razor blade swearing that it was the last day I was going to count.

On day forty-nine you called me out for believing lies and I was adamant that I would never talk to you again.

On day one-hundred-twenty-six there was a feast. We celebrated making it that far. We told stories. We raised our glasses. And we made dessert.

On day one-hundred-fifty-four I realized that it was really only day one-hundred-forty-seven. I resigned myself to defeat and convinced myself there was no point to move forward.

Then day one-hundred-fifty-four came back around. And we celebrated it again.

On day one-hundred-sixty-six we had breakfast and dreamed about celebrating six months.

Day one-hundred-seventy-three we both raised our fists against the darkness. We longed for light and were determined to fight for it.

So today, on this day, I want to say thank you. I raise my glass to those who have called me on my crap, to those who won’t let me continually shut down or check out. I want to give a shout out to those who refused to walk away, to those who have stayed up way past their bedtime to remind me of who I am and whose I am. I am grateful for the truth you have spoken over me. I am grateful for the texts and emails and Facebook chats.

If you come across those today who are walking a hard path would you tell them a few things for me? Would you encourage them to be faithful and obedient to what God is asking of them?

I am familiar with the shaking hands and the weak knees and I would still say that choosing life is worth it. You will doubt almost everything and that is okay. Relax into the doubt. You won’t drown, I promise. Chances are you are going to fail at some point. Maybe not outright, but in little ways. That’s okay too, get back up. You aren’t alone. There will be times when you will be so tired you will think your body is actually failing you…don’t give up. Keep walking. The road is dusty and tiresome, but one thing it is not is empty.

Trust that God is a good father. His heart is kind toward you.

So, on day one-hundred-eighty-two, I raise my glass to hope.

Here’s to day one’s.
Here’s to longing for light.
And here’s to a hope that does not put us to shame.

I’m with you and for you.

All my love,
Alison

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